One of God's
By R. L. Sheldon
Done into print by The Roy-
crofters at their Shop in East
Aurora, New York, mcmviii
Digitized by tiie Internet Arciiive
in 2010 witii funding from
Tine Institute of Museum and Library Services through an Indiana State Library LSTA Grant
ONE OF GOD'S NOBLEMEN
In Essentials, Unity;
In Non-essentials, Liberty;
In All Things, Charity.
>HERE have been sumptuous volumes
written about Abraham Lincoln, which
were lavishly illustrated with new por-
traits, sketches of his contemporaries,
incidents in his career, — authentic ma-
terial, but such was he that there is
always some new reader to worship.
^ One must be a genius for story telling
and have genuine love of the subject to make the biography
of such a life interesting. Material from his life, from the
beginning to the end, must be so woven as to preserve
facts, discarding chaff.
There are plenty of incidents which reveal his weaknesses,
his strength, tenderness, simplicity, moral courage, faith
and will. The words only are valuable which make Lincoln
human, for he had his struggle with temptation, despair,
and defeat, but rose above all because he had the qualities
which go to make up the finest type of manhood; and the
portrait of such a man must be such as no student of history
can afford to miss, and it must be a vivid mental picture of
Lincoln the man, Lincoln the statesman: the greatest man
this country has ever produced, American born and bred.
The idol of an enthusiastic people, noble, sincere, unselfish,
story-loving and story-telling; a man the elder generation
all knew, and the younger generation should learn about.
^ Everybody admires the manly man, and although Lincoln
being one of God's noblemen, had little assurance or con-
fidence in his manner, he had no need of apology. As a
God's young man, when he asked for work, a job, or position, he
Nobleman did it with confidence, fearlessly; and with the assurance
of ability to do and the strength to accomplish.
His moods were contagious, and he never queered his
interests by having doubts and thus communicating them
to others. It is natural to believe in one who believes in
himself jt jt
His character was developed and emphasized by important
events. He was the result, or natural outcome, of a fine
strain of blood in some ancestor, although there is no
record of any great intellect; but there must have been one
of great soul, one of moral largeness.
Lincoln did not inspire awe by deeply incrusted formality,
but did by essential greatness in unbending for the occasion.
He had the comprehensive intellect of a Charlemagne, the
sagacity of a Richelieu, and the iron will of a Napoleon.
He was not a great scholar nor theologian, but a philosopher,
a man of action, who embraced opportunities in time to
strike decisive blows.
A strong sense of duty to his manhood and country quickened
by a keen knowledge of right and wrong gave to his character
its peculiar radiance.
Pride and haughtiness were unknown in his intercourse
with men, but he delighted in the society of all who cotdd
teach him anything. How different was Napoleon! He was
jealous of literary genius, was constrained in the presence
of literary men, and seldom invited them to his table.
Lincoln's term as President of this country was the one
least corrupted by the vices of a luxurious life. He was
accessible at all times, but felt his responsibility as a ruler
of his country; his energies never relaxed. He was devoted God's
to the cause, for it was greater than himself. To him, his Nobleman
mind and principles were his fortune, and he stood for no
other. He recognized all that is most noble in human life,
the subservience of passion to reason, the power of endurance,
patience, charity and action. Not for the joys of a future
heaven did he long, but for the realities and certitudes of
earth, which make for the harmony and peace of the soul
while it is subject to the temptations and trials of the world,
— a world few despise, and which he sought to benefit.
His name was not made immortal by artistic excellence,
but by loftiness of purpose and thought.
He had not the piety of Noah, but he had the faith of
Abraham, the wisdom of Moses, the stoicism of Aurelius,
and it was the precious salt which was to save this country
from the putrefaction of self-indulgence and the vice of
slavery j* ^
He needed not the country, seashore, nor mountains for
retreats, for he was always capable of retiring within
himself, and nowhere does a man retire with more quiet
or freedom than into his own soul.
There were those who could say things more profound
and with more polish ; there were those who were more elo-
quent, but who did not realize their own shallowness. His
mind was logical, naturally truthful, and the nonsense of
plausible pretenders disgusted him. He sought certitudes
and eliminated sophistry which truths could not cover up,
for he wanted a basis upon which to stand.
Cod's Sj«v^Tfc)r^!^9^#E could well apply Ruskin's Fors Cla-
Nobleman f r^^av^Xirijn^ l vigera to Lincoln. The term is Latin,
and means more than possibly could
be expressed in English in less than a
hundred words. 'Tis said the Romans
did more and said less than any other
nation that ever lived, and that their
language is the most heroic ever spoken.
Of Arithmetic, Geometry and Chemistry one can know a
little, but the same amount of Latin will serve you better
than all the others put together, in derivation of words.
Fors Clavigera is made up of the words Force, Fortitude,
and Fortune; and there are many shades of the meaning
of each word.
Force means power, but not always for good.
Fortitude means power also, but derived from bearing unnec-
essary pain, sorrow or trouble.
Fortitude can mean almost anything.
Clava means a club; clavis a key; clavus a rudder.
Gera, I carry, or is the root of the verb gesture, therefore
Clavigera will signify bearer.
To be a club-bearer means the strength of a Hercules;
Key-bearer the strength of Patience ; Nail-bearer the strength
of the Law.
This great man of such strength of character, morals,
good sense and virtues, was not a Redskin nor a Paleface.
He was looked upon in the first of his career as an unsophis-
ticated countryman, neither well versed in the intricacies
of politics, nor the attainments of statesmanship, and a man
of such calibre need not be.
He was unschooled in many arts when he entered political God's
life, but with his strength of mind and principles he won a Nobleman
place at the top of the ladder, as the ablest champion of
justice and right.
To his grit, his straightforwardness, his sterling character,
he owed the essential part of his education, and he could no
more be bribed than a birch-tree growing out of a crag can
have its branches trained before they start.
He studied men intelligently, and very rarely erred in his
judgment jt ^
The life of such a man will be chosen as a theme for study
by historians yet to be bom, and such contributions will
incite self-sacrifice, patriotism and the highest ideals of
He uprooted slavery, but not all its roots or fruits, and his
triumph is now a marvel in history. He had to solve one of
the most complicated questions of statesmanship ever
presented in the history of the republic, and none were
ever more grave in any government of the world's history.
^ He was a man of few words and kept his own counsel
so well that while he was preparing different proclamations,
not one of his cabinet knew until he was quite ready; and
when he wrote his inaugural address he shut himself into
an upper room with Henry Clay's great speech of 1850,
Andrew Jackson's proclamation against nullification, and
a copy of the constitution, and here prepared a paper which
has been treasured among the noblest uttrances of the
Fathers of the Nations.
He was big, plain, slow, but irresistible, for he was a lover
of men and near to the people: a poet by nature, a child
Cod's ^^ the soil, his chief weapon, his great sense of humor. So
Nobleman seldom did his opponents see his force, anger or vengeance,
that they declared his tender nature would ruin the nation.
Little did they know what a sleeping volcano he was.
Abraham Lincoln and Edwin Booth, brother of J. Wilkes
Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, may not at first thought
seem to have any point of common accord, for one was a
statesman, the other an actor, yet both swayed the
multitude by a force or gift they had in common, which
was emotional rhetoric, whether words of deepest tragedy
or smiling persiflage.
It was the same with Lincoln's helpmate, Henry Ward
Beecher, the great orator and preacher. He it was who
could wring the hearts of his hearers to tears, and then by
a flash of wit turn the tears to smiles. His lessons went
straight home and were ineradicable.
All three were men of intense conscientious convictions,
and each of them passed through the fiery furnace of
calumny and suffering. Little scraps of things are con-
tinually coming to light which 't is said have never been
told before, but no one will ever know the depths each
plumbed Jt Jt
A grandson of Beecher has told us of a midnight visit
which Lincoln paid his grandfather soon after the battle
of Bull Run. For hours the two petitioned in prayer the
God of Battles, the defender of right. Silently and unknown
he came, and silently he departed ^ A muffled figure in
disguise, he went from Washington to Brooklyn for comfort,
consolation and strength.
Henry Ward Beecher was his true friend and patriot. He
crossed to England and secured her moral support for the ^^^^
righteousness of Lincoln's anti-slavery policy. The power of Nobleman
touching the hearts of listeners was the gift of all three men.
>BRAHAM LINCOLN was born on Feb-
ruary 12, 1809, in a log cabin on the
Ohio River. He was rather a funny
looking child, with his sallow skin and
straight black hair; as a boy, he was
long, lank and wiry. He grew so fast
that his pants were never long enough.
He was a great one to laugh and was
always ready to give and take a joke, and as a youth received
many hard knocks. His first composition was on cruelty to
animals Jt> ^
He worked hard while he lived at home, for his father was
shiftless and lazy, and the work had to be done.
From childhood he was an omnivorous reader, and if he came
across anything he wished to remember he would copy it
on a shingle if he had no paper. From his youth up he always
kept a scrap-book of shingles, where he put down
poetry, history, fine passages, funny sayings, or stories.
One of these scrapbooks is still in existence in his old home
in Springfield, Illinois, which has been turned into a museum.
In this scrapbook is written:
"Abraham Lincoln, his hand and pen,
He will sometime do good.
But God knows when. "
God did know when, for the boy was to live and make a
hero for history.
God's Abraham's father did not care to have him read and study
Nobleman for fear it would give him a taste for something besides
work. The "Life of Washington" was the famous book of
the day, and the boy was able to borrow it from a sour,
cranky old man by the name of Crawford. When he was
not reading the precious book, he would hide it carefully
away in an old cupboard, and as the roof leaked one day,
the book was soaked. When Abraham went to tell the old
man he said, "Now Abe, you must work out the book,"
which he did and thus he owned the book — the first one of
The first twenty years of his life were years of poverty,
privation, hard work, little play and less money. He did
not love work and he did love books and study, and he made
the most of his time during all these comfortless years,
thus learning self-denial, kindness, shrewdness, pluck,
independence and perseverance. He wished to go before the
public and knew he must study hard to enable him to write
and speak correctly. He bought a grammar and was obliged
to walk six miles to secure it. Of course, if he had been born
into a well educated family there would have been no need
of a grammar, but being all his young life in the midst of
uneducated people, he must start with the rudiments.
He mastered his grammar, and finding two old law books,
in the bottom of a barrel of trash, he appropriated and treas-
ured up all the sense and argument out of their dry pages.
^ He began to dream of being a lawyer, debated whenever
he got a chance, and developed into an authority as long
of head as he was of arms and legs. Probably there is no
man in history who started lower and climbed higher than
Abraham Lincoln. He always went ahead, never slipped God*s
back; he led always, never let people lead him; he was Nobleman
strong willed and ambitious, and would never say die.
He made a bold fighter for the right and a tough adversary ;
a champion of the weak, a friend of the friendless, a true
knight, full of chivalry.
When Lincoln was twenty-one years old, all the family
possessions were sold at public "Vandoo" or auction, and
of course at a very low figure, and the combined families
of Lincoln and Hanks, thirteen in all, started in a big
wagon drawn by four oxen, through the mud and high
water of Spring, from Indiana, and landed in Illinois.
Abraham fitted up a sort of Jew's stock of pins, needles,
thread and buttons, which he sold along the way. The
cavalcade, after fifteen days of discomfort, came to a little
settlement about ten miles west of Decatur, where Lincoln
and his cousin John Hanks, broke ground and cleared fifteen
acres of land and split rails, to fence it in, and built a log
house. The two young men, Abe, as he was called, and John,
worked together barefooted, ploughing, mowing, planting.
About this time Abraham determined to be free from his
father, be a man for his country, for until now his father
had demanded his wages, and he well knew he could never
accomplish anything worth while, simply working for his
daily bread, so he struck, or decided to take his chance and
let his ne'er-do-well, never satisfied father shift for himself
or go without.
His first earnings were spent for blue jeans, or overalls,
for every pair of which he split four hundred rails, — work
was easier to get than clothes or money.
God*s Other work, of which there is and always will be plenty,
Nobleman turned up, and in another year he had split rails and helped
build a flatboat, and agreed to sail it down the big river to
New Orleans for the princely sum of fifty cents a day. The
man who owned the boat persuaded Lincoln to act as cook
for the camp during the process of building.
The man OfiEutt, who owned the boat, also ran a store,
which he put into Lincoln's hands to see if he could get any
more out of it than he had before.
^ Now the town of New Salem was small and overrun
with loafers, or bullies, who calculated to swap yarns in the
store, and in front of it, the best part of the day, and drink
and fight out the night. They made their brags they could
lick any newcomer. When Lincoln appeared the rowdies
made fun of him, and when his employer said he could
outrun, outwalk or out-rassle any one of them, they thought
they knew better.
Lincoln did not care to fight, least of all with a bully, but
was egged on by his boss until he declared he would not be
called a coward, and agreed to meet in combat the buUiest
of the bullies.
They fought, and the rowdy saw he could not win by fair
means, so tried foul, which aroused Lincoln's lion and he
put forth his strength, and grabbing his antagonist by the
throat he held on until he was sufficiently black in the
face, then he took him by the collar, lifted him into the air,
and throwing him into space, said, "Will any one else try
Lincoln managed the store for a while, settled all disputes,
was always fair and honest ; he hated drunkenness and pro-
fanity, and was termed the village peacemaker. He was God's
feared but respected by the rowdies, and called the cleverest Nobleman
fellow that ever struck the settlement.
He was a born story-teller, but never for one moment
thought this would earn him a living. No wonder he was
called a rail-splitter, for during a dull spell in the store he
turned in and split rails enough to pen in a thousand hogs.
;E gave up the store and started the
boat down the Mississippi toward New
Orleans. All went well until they ran
aground, when Lincoln's ingenuity saved
the day, or relieved the difficulty, while
all on the shore stood with their hands
in their pockets and advice on their
tongues, first to criticise, then applaud.
^ The snags and shoals were over at last and they arrived
at New Orleans. Here is where Lincoln's eyes were first
opened to slavery. He had seen slaves, but never a sale
such as he saw in the old slave market at New Orleans.
^ On his return north he delivered addresses and took part
in debates. He presented the slave question in an entirely
new phase, that of "the house divided against itself cannot
stand." The nation could not be called wholly free and
keep slaves. It must be freedom, or slavery, not both.
His plain face, lack of grace and manner, were all forgotten
by the vast audiences, as his earnestness absorbed the atten-
tion of his hearers.
In 1832, Lincoln was captain in the Black Hawk War.
Later he became a surveyor, all this time studying hard.
God's He finally settled on the law as his profession. His wit
Nobleman was keen, and it was said that if he were in a talking mood,
men could not afford to miss what he said.
A commercial agency requested of him a report on the
financial standing of one of his neighbors, and Lincoln
replied — "I am well acquainted with Mr. A. and know
his circumstances. First of all he has a wife and baby,
which ought to be worth Fifty Thousand Dollars to any
man. In his office he has a table probably worth a dollar
and a half, three chairs worth, say, a dollar each, and a
rat hole which is worth looking into."
He was probably aware of his power and appreciated the
gift, for humor is a gift of the gods.
He studied the elements of the people with unremitting
delight, a new face was a new friend to set laughing. The
snob, or one who was airy, had little chance with him.
Lincoln was on the cars one day when a man stepped up
to him, and taking a knife from his pocket, said as he held
it out to the great man, "This knife belongs to you by
good rights, for it was given to me years ago upon condition
that I should give it to the first man I met whom I considered
homelier than myself." Lincoln thanked him and put the
knife in his pocket.
His speeches in different places after he became a politician
brought him near the people, and the thunders of applause
at one time caused him to say, "There was once a man
traveling on horseback through a wood during a tremendous
thunder storm, and a peal more frightful than he could stand
brought him to his knees with the words: 'Oh, Lord, if it 's
all the same to you, give me a little more light and a little
less noise. ' " He was like Shakespeare in the light and shade, God's
pathos and humor that played across his nature, as light Nobleman
winds across summer seas. He was like Calhoun, who believed
reason directed him, and like John Brown, who believed God
sent him. Such are the men whom the ages respect.
Abraham Lincoln's imperturbable, patient nature was raised
up to do a work which is a marvel of history. He was a man,
but greater than Adams, Patrick Henry or Andrew Jackson,
and nearer to the people than even Thomas Jefferson, for
he was the kindest man that ever underwent four years of
continuously increasing supplication.
Lincoln was elected to the Legislature in 1834, and serving
until the end of the term, he declined further election, and
returned to his law and studying. He tried to read Shakes-
peare thoroughly, but the deep interest he took in living
people made mimic life seem trivial to him.
In 1835, he fell in love with Anne Rutledge, a beautiful
young woman, who did not live to marry him, and her
death so shocked him that it was believed his reason would
be unseated. A noble friend took Lincoln to his home and
brought him back to a sense of duty and manhood, after
weeks of careful nursing. His noble friend, Greene, died
in 1842, and Lincoln tried to speak at his funeral in the
Masonic Lodge, but his voice was choked with emotion,
while the tears coursed down his wrinkled cheeks; after
repeated efforts he gave it up, and strode away sobbing
bitterly. At this time he learned the piece which the people
call Lincoln's poem, ''0, why should the spirit of mortal be
Lincoln and Douglas began their rivalry when both men
God's were young. They were rivals in politics and love, both
Nobleman falling in love with Mary Todd, whom Lincoln married,
after with difficulty persuading Douglas to leave the field.
^ Lincoln was married on November 4th, 1842, and to him
were born four sons, Robert Lincoln, the only one who
lived to maturity; William Wallace Lincoln died in 1862,
one of the darkest periods of the war. The blow was crushing
to his father, already burdened with a thousand cares and
sorrows. He received real comfort from his little son Thomas,
or "Tad" as he was called. Tad lived until 1871, dying at
the age of eighteen. In 1846 Lincoln was elected to Congress,
and a period of melancholy settled over him which he found
hard to throw off.
Lincoln was six feet, four inches high, thin, wiry, sinewy,
raw-boned, narrow across the shoulders. His usual weight
one hundred and eighty pounds. Physically he was a powerful
man, easily lifting four hundred pounds.
What was there about him that should cause gigantic events
to center around him, and the masses to come toward him
as if he were father, brother, companion? Because of his
battery of outpouring humanity rays; because of his deep
love of the human race, and because he was neither all
fun, nor all sadness. A woman once wrote him for his
autograph and a sentiment. He replied; "Dear Madam,
when you ask a stranger for that which is of interest to
yourself only, always enclose a stamp jt There 's your
sentiment, and here's your autograph, — A. Lincoln."
He made no personal impression on the country at large
until his name was at the front among presidential candi-
dates of the new Republican party. The fame spread of
this approachable and unapproachable man, this simple God's
and profound mind. The sagacity of the man, his utter Nobleman
inability to ask favors or to lean for advice on so-called
"wise men," was a problem for the scholarly senators;
how to belittle Lincoln, to fit him for a smaller ofiSice and
let a figurehead go in front, they never found out.
Lincoln carried his state and was elected Republican Gov-
ernor, but the Legislature being then, as now, so completely
gerrymandered, Douglas was re-elected to the Senate.
Douglas possessed all the arts of a popular speaker, one of
the readiest to meet emergencies. In spite of this, Lincoln
most agreeably disappointed his friends and followers, and
was known as a foeman well worthy of his steel during
every contest. In the stand he took on the slave question,
he displayed some of the higher qualities of the statesman,
although the momentous importance of his acts and words
were not at the time appreciated.
Lincoln was wiser than those around him and entered
upon his Presidency with no policy, and we might say, no
conditions; and his cabinet consisted of some of the
most able men, who not half appreciated him or his
attainments. It has been said that he had no cabinet, or,
that those who composed his cabinet were simply clerks or
messenger boys in so far as they always did what he told
them. He may as well have been alone most of the time,
as to have the most of his cabinet with him, for his manner
of dispatching business was marvelous ^ He made even
Charles Sumner believe he was running the government,
commanding the army, and regulating the United States,
so well did he keep him in line.
God's In spite of suggestions, of authority being placed in the
Nobleman hands of particular ones of the cabinet, he always calmly
said, "All terms must be directed by me. I will solve every
grave problem while I am in power."
When Lincoln had the courage to propose gradual emanci-
pation to the border states in the early months of the war,
he was not well supported by his party leaders, for no one
but himself could at the time see the necessity of bowing
to the inevitable, but his act was one of the most brilliant
conceptions of statesmanship during the war.
The movement failing, cost a terrible sacrifice to four of
the southern states.
Lincoln was past-master in diplomacy and sought to allay
irritation in other countries, always patient with those
impetuous, for he well understood what aggressive move-
ments meant. He was one of the greatest strategists of the
war in every military movement, and every rule or law he
laid down he did in the most modest way.
He knew men so well that he had little to learn in the art
of war, and while he placated some, he rode fearlessly over
others, as he let slip his dogs of war.
As the fame of Lincoln spread there was no lack of self-
appointed political managers and stablemen to caparison the
steed and watch over the presidential provender, but his
sagacity and utter dislike of asking favors of so-called
"wise men" was maddening to grafting politicians.
He appreciated social affairs in a way, and when his son,
Robert Lincoln, was invited to attend a banquet given to
Longfellow by eminent scholars, Lincoln said, "Go, my
son, but if you are able to maintain a respectable conver-
sation with such distinguished gentlemen, you '11 do more God's
than your father has ever been able to do." Nobleman
He looked to heaven for guidance as battle after battle
piled up in history. His marked public religious attitude
was a never-failing source of satisfaction to the devout in
the North; and gradually love for the man who took his
seat as president covered the land.
At one time a crowd of office seekers informed the President
that he had been exposed to small-pox. **I 'm glad of it,"
he exclaimed, "for now I 'm going to have something I
can give to everybody."
The war spread and struck the coward and the copperhead
alike. During these years Lincoln slept little, he wrote few
letters, and read not one in fifty which he received. He
drank nothing but water, not from principle, however. A
committee of ministers, thinking he went far too slow, and
that they were inspired by God, waited upon him and reasoned
with him. He heard them in silence, and when they came to a
stop he said calmly, "Well, gentlemen, it is not often I am
favored with a delegation direct from the Almighty. "
He said, "Emancipation is coming. Those who can wait will
see it; those who stand in its way will be run over by it."
^ In spite of each and every battle leaving Lincoln looking
sadder and older, his wit never ran dry, and this has created
a desire to hear about the man, which will last for ages.
^ It would seem by April, 1865, that there had been trouble
enough. A dozen armies had been raised, three hundred
million dollars had been borrowed, slavery had been blotted
out, there were graveyards full of heroes, and homes full
of sorrow and fugitive exiles.
God*s As Lincoln stood on the east steps of the Capitol about
Nobleman this time, he uttered these words, which have spread over
the land, "With malice toward none, with charity for all."
'HEN Lincoln became President he as-
sumed a task more difficult than that
which devolved upon Washington, and he
knew that unless the Great God who
assisted Washington, was with him to
aid, guide and support, that he would
fail. He looked to Heaven for guidance
at times when his burden seemed greater
than he could bear.
There was one funny thing happened when Buchanan was
to step down and out, and Lincoln take his place. One of
Buchanan's haters asked Lincoln if he intended to ride to
the Capitol with Buchanan, or go alone. **That reminds
me," said Lincoln, "of the witness in a lawsuit who looked
like a Quaker. When he arose to take the oath, he was
asked by the Judge (who seemed puzzled) if he would rather
swear or affirm. *I don't care a d — n which,' was the reply."
^ The war was inevitable when Lincoln took his seat, but
no one thought it would last over ninety days. Office seekers
crowded into Washington, and one delegation, not caring
to simply ask for office, asked if a man in delicate health
could be sent to the balmy latitude of the Sandwich Islands.
"Gentlemen," said Mr. Lincoln, "I am sorry, but there
are eight other men sicker than your man, who have applied
for the place."
The Austrian Minister presented an Austrian Count, and
spent much time in proving he was really a count. Mr. God*s
Lincoln laid his hand on the man's shoulder and said, Nobleman
"Never mind, you shall be treated with just as much consid-
eration for all that."
As the war progressed, taxes doubled, tripled, bonds sold
down, gold went up. Gamblers, contractors and cormorants
fattened. The Nation hungered for victory which did not
come ^ Ji
The Abolitionists set out to make Lincoln free the slaves
on John Quincy Adam's prescription, done as a Presidential
war measure. Generals Fremont and Hunter both felt his
hand when they audaciously assumed the power of eman-
cipation in their own military districts.
Lincoln's own plan was State emancipation, with compen-
sation to owners, and many, — Horace Greeley and Wendell
Phillips for two, — thought he went altogether too slow. But
neither godly nor diabolical contrivances, could move
Abraham Lincoln against his better judgment. He could
not be hurried, nor coaxed, nor driven.
Lots of funny things happened during the four years, and
Lincoln was equal to every occasion. A notorious bully
ordered an oflicer to flee or he would kill him. The officer
arrested the bully, who struck the officer, and the return
blow knocked the victim senseless. The officer ran like a
child to the White House to own up and possibly escape
his whipping. Lincoln said, "I am sorry you had to
kill the man, but these are times of war and there are a great
many men who deserve killing."
Another man wanted to pass into Richmond: "Happy to
oblige you," said Lincoln, "but I have given passes to two
God's hundred and fifty thousand men to go to Richmond, not
Nobleman one of whom has reached the place."
When Fairfax was raided and a brigadier-general and a
number of horses were captured, Lincoln said, "Well, I 'm
sorry on account of the horses, for I cannot manufacture
horses, but I can make a brigadier-general in about two
As the war continued, the complexities of draft riots,
butternut and copperhead conventions increased, unlicensed
newspaper invectives, sharp military criticism, seemed over-
whelmingly obnoxious, and the President made peace when
On September 22nd., 1862, he informed all regions in
rebellion that their slaves would be free January ist., 1863,
unless they ceased to defy the authority of the United States.
He called together the members of the cabinet and told
them this Proclamation would be issued. Governor Seward
suggested two slight changes, one at a time, however, and
both were adopted. "Why did you suggest one, then the
second," said Lincoln, "why not both together?" But
Seward could not give a satisfactory answer, and the Presi-
dent said, "You remind me of a hired man who came to a
farmer and told him one of his oxen had fallen down dead.
The man waited a moment, then said, ^And the other ox is
dead too.' The farmer said, 'And why didn't you tell me
both were dead, at first?' And the man answered, 'Because
I did not want to hurt you by telling you too much at one
By the time slavery was cut in twain, Father Abraham
wore a beard and looked twenty years older than he did
when he left Springfield. Peace came with Victory, and he God*s
grew even more gentle, and the magic words of "with Nobleman
malice toward none, with charity for all" were to live as
the inscription on his catafalque, a precious legacy to the
language he spoke.
Lincoln was opposed to colored troops, but as he stood
with Grant at Petersburg, where Smith's colored troops had
glorified their race,he said, "I want to take a look at those
boys, for I read with the greatest delight, how gallantly
they behaved, and that they took six out of the sixteen
guns captured that day. I tell you, boys, it is just as well
to be a little color blind."
'Tis said Lincoln never forgot a face. At one time during
the year 1840, he had taken a meal with a Sangamon county
farmer who met him in 1862, and who held out his hand,
but had no idea as he shook the hand that this great man
would remember him. What was his astonishment when
Lincoln said, "How do you do, I took dinner with you
when I was out your way twenty years ago or so. I well
remember it, as I stood at the barnyard gate while I sharpened
my knife. "
*'Ya-as," drawled the farmer, "you did, and I was never
able to find the whetstone afterwards. Where did you
put it? I thought maybe you took it along with you. "
"No," said Abraham, "I put it on top of the gatepost, the
All this time Lincoln had sorrow in his own home. He
went one day to buy toys for his little son. He had become
quite well acquainted with the poor, bedridden man and
his wife who kept the shop, and the woman said, "You
God's must not spoil your boy with having too many toys."
Nobleman "Bless my soul, what an idea," said Lincoln, "you can't
spoil your child with love, and this boy must have the toys
I did n't have, and the toys I meant to give the boy who
— went away."
Thank God for a man who knows our hearts. The world
is His toy shop, and men and women are His toys. He can
make use of everybody it makes no difference how ugly
a toy they may be.
Lee surrendered on Palm Sunday.
On March 31st, 1865, Grant made an attack on Petersburg,
and the President grew more and more depressed as the
day passed. The fact that his own son, Robert Lincoln,
was with Grant, was one source of anxiety, but the great
loss of life was worse. There was never on the face of man
such suffering as was on the face of Lincoln as that day
ended jfc ^
His good-night to his bodyguard was cheerful.
On April 3rd, he rode over to the battlefield of Petersburg, —
through Fort Hell and Fort Damnation, as the men had
named the outposts of the two armies which faced each
other, not far apart. As the two rode along, the President's
face settled into its old lines of sadness.
Robert Lincoln, of General Grant's staff, was all right, and
his father was relieved on that point.
fHE last public speech the President ever
made was on April nth. The whole
city was brilliantly illuminated, the
public buildings decorated, and from
the Capitol to the Treasury, the whole
length of Pennsylvania Avenue bore
witness with flags and lights, that the
war was over.
Streaming up Pennsylvania Avenue, the only paved street
at the time, and from every other quarter of the city, came
people. In spite of the fine drizzle and the mud, a great
crowd cheered the President when he appeared at one window
and Mrs. Lincoln bowed from another.
For three days the people celebrated. The city of Washington
was delirious. The kind of celebration depended upon the
person. Streams of callers came to congratulate the President.
There were serenades and illuminations.
On the afternoon of the fourteenth, Lincoln made a hurried
visit to the War Department, and said to his bodyguard,
who accompanied him everywhere now, "If I could only
feel safe, I could live a calm and sedate life. When my
term is over I shall go back to my home in Illinois. What
a promise of peace it looks, but I am afraid it will never
be, for do you know, I believe there are men who want to
take my life ; and I 've no doubt they will do it. Other men
have been assassinated, and if any one wants to do it, there
is no possible way to prevent it." He said, *'I am going to
the theatre this evening with Mrs. Lincoln to see **Our
American Cousin. " I do not care to go to-night, but the fact
has been advertised, and I can't disappoint the people."
God s ^ The two went back to the White House, and as Lincoln
Nobleman went up the steps he said, "Good-bye Crook."
His man was startled, for he had never said anything but
"Good-night" until this time.
There is no doubt the great heart who presided over the
White House had premonitions that he was not to live long,
for in February, 1861, he visited his aged stepmother and
the grave of his father, and said, "It will be my last chance."
He was a prophet. The causes which led to his death were
blind and slow in acting, but he was a keen judge of cause
President Lincoln was a sane man, but his mood was either
way up or way down, and no one can sound the spring of
spiritual insight from which such a nature is fed.
He went open-eyed to the place where he met the blind
fanatic, and the President who had dealt out justice with a
tender heart, who had groaned in spirit over fallen Richmond,
fell victim to the assassin Booth.
The last written words of Lincoln were to a man who had
asked for an appointment for that evening, and were, **I
am engaged to go to the theatre with Mrs. Lincoln. It is
the kind of an engagement I never break. Come with your
friend tomorrow at ten, and I shall be glad to see you. —
It is strange that the negligence of the guard who
accompanied the President to the theatre on the night of
the fourteenth, has never been explained. It has never been
investigated, but had he done his duty, the President would
probably not have been murdered. The man's name was
John Parker, and it was his business to wait in the little
passageway outside the box. Here there was a chair placed God's
which he was supposed to occupy, and which he did not Nobleman
that night, but went to a seat at the front of the first gallery
where he could see the play. Through this passage Booth
entered the box. Booth was in and out of the theatre
five times before he finally committed the dastardly act.
He seemed to be studying his plan and knew Parker was
not at his post. Booth was fortified with whiskey up to the
proper pitch of daring. He was armed with a pistol and a
dagger. Major Rathbone, who attempted to prevent Booth's
escape, received the dagger in his arm.
Major Rathbone and Lincoln were both strong and brave
men, and if Parker had been on guard, and killed or over-
powered first, the President hearing the commotion might
have escaped. As it was. Booth's plan was devilishly successful.
Parker knew he had failed in duty, and had heard the Presi-
dent say just a few hours before that he could trust all his
guards, then utterly failed Jt He looked like a convicted
criminal the next day.
The President often spoke of the possibility of an attempt
being made on his life, but never seemed to treat it very
seriously until the last day, for on that day he told of a dream
which he said he had the night before, and that he always
dreamed the same thing before any important or great event
of his life.
The President and his wife and two guests occupied the
box in the little theatre. Booth entered the theatre at ten
o'clock, made his way directly to the box, shot the great
man in the back, leaped to the stage brandishing the dagger
and shouting the words, "Sic Semper Tyrannis" (The South
God's is avenged), stabbed the orchestra leader in the neck,
Nobleman without killing him.
As when a perverse shaft of lightning thwarts an inky
sky, and shivering nature causes the cheek to blanch, so
came the news to the whole country of the Great Heart
being stricken down, like a bolt from the clear sky. The
ghastly tales of the war had become familiar, but that an
assassin had slain such a man — the knowledge surpassed
even the infernal realities of war.
There settled over the land such gloom as history has never
recorded. His people were broken-hearted, too full of sorrow
to even call for vengeance on the wretch who had betrayed
It was a crime against the Angels of Mercy, Peace and
Charity. A baneful day to close one of the darkest chapters
in our chronicles. The little room where he breathed his last
was crowded with men who had been associated with him
during the war. All gathered round the bed, watching while
the great spirit took its flight; little by little it loosened its
hold on the long, gaunt body. Lincoln breathed his last on
April 15th, 1865, and the sacred terror has never been
wiped out. The Nation still mourns and rises up at every
new reminder of his life. The words, "Charity for all and
malice toward none, " can still bring tears to the eye.
The catafalque bearing the beloved form, stood day after
day for those who looked with sad eyes on one of God's
Noblemen. Business ceased for days and bells tolled contin-
uously. The darkest day the country has ever known was
the day after his assassination. The never-to-be-forgotten
morning of April 15th, 1865, when the great heart of a
loyal nation gave a tremendous throb as his life went out, God's
made him belong to the ages. The body was taken from the Nobleman
Peterson home to the White House where it lay in state while
the Nation fasted in prayer.
On Friday the funeral train advanced to New York, and
his best friend, Henry Ward Beecher, said, "Now the martyr
is moving in triumphal march mightier than when alive;
cities and states are his pall-bearers, and the cannon speaks
the hours with solemn progression."
The scene in New York was unparalleled. The white letters
of "Charity for all and malice toward none" were on every
side. Millions wept and repudiated the deed which one of
their race had done.
The stately cortege passed to Albany, Buffalo, Cleveland,
Columbus, Indianapolis and Chicago ^ At Chicago the
catafalque was erected in the Court House, while the deep
bell pulsed the moments. The stream of weeping mourners
never stopped as long as the body lay in state, nor were
all the mourners able to see their dead.
On the 3rd of May the catafalque was placed in the State
House at Springfield, to which came the ancient sons of
Illinois, cabin builders, rail splitters, crippled soldiers, fellow
pioneers. Day and night all came to look on their hero.
At ten o'clock of the morning a great choir of voices sang,
"Peace Troubled Soul," while the lid of the casket was
closed to the eyes of the world.
The military cortege moved, the Bishop spoke the words
of faith and renunciation, the vault door opened, the choir
chanted, "Unveil thy bosom, faithful tomb!" and the body
of Abraham Lincoln was at rest, and beyond the htirts of life.
God's ^ Springfield stands distinctly in the forefront among the
Nobleman capital cities of the American States as the historic home
of the first national martyr, and the mausoleum of his
patriotically idolized ashes — President Lincoln — who saved
the Union, but lost his life therefor.
Over fifty thousand visitors come annually to visit the tomb.
Springfield has Washington and Lincoln parks, Camp Lincoln
and Oak Ridge Cemetery which exceeds one hundred acres.
The Lincoln home and obelisk shrines are in the older part
of the city, right where in i860, the humble and awkward,
but divinely born young statesman was notified of his election
to the Presidency of the United States.
This home is the only piece of realty Lincoln ever owned;
the house was his home from 1844 to 1865, and where his
four sons were born. Now it is a nation's shrine and free
to the visiting world, filled with precious heirlooms of
Lincoln Jt ^
The Lincoln monument stands on an eminence in beautiful
Oak Ridge, a splendid specimen of granite and marble,
one hundred and twenty-one feet high, and costing five
hundred thousand dollars, having been entirely rebuilt in
All Presidents, since 1865, excepting Cleveland, have visited
and registered at the monument. Forty-three years, and
it contains millions of names.
When the monument was rebuilt the President of the
Pullman Company, Chicago, Robert Lincoln, quietly visited
the contractor and paid one thousand dollars extra for him
to inter the remains in solid steel and cement twenty feet
below the monument, where nothing could disturb them.
The wreath covered casket in the grilled sepulchre, yearly God's
visited by thousands, would yield nothing to the ghouls Nobleman
who might wish to seize the illustrious ashes for national
ransom jt j^
Here then endeth "One of God's Noblemen," as written
by R. L. Sheldon and done into a printed book by The
Roycrofters at their Shop, which is in East Aurora, Erie
County, New York, in the month of December, mcmviii
~7/. :^ OO9.0iU,0bl